Collaborating with the mysterious Portals of London: The Stoke Newington Vanishing

I first discovered the Portals of London research when I started digging around the murky facts around Hannah Courtoy’s mausoleum (also known as the Brompton Cemetery Time Machine.)

It was exciting to discover so much information about London’s interdimensional gateways all in one place and I even had the privilege of meeting a portolologist (I think that’s what they’re called!) in Rosie’s cafe in Peckham.

He told me that London’s space-time boundaries are “hopelessly porous” – something to do with the nature of Thames mud I THINK. Anyhow we compared notes on some of the weirder material they have collected on the Portals blog.

I found myself especially moved by the mournful story of Stoke Newington Nursery Vanishing.

Its all about women- and in particular it hints at the way that- over the years- women have not been listened to, their opinions disregarded and their concerns dismissed as hysteria.

In fact there was a lot more to be discovered. I was able to work closely with the Portals organisation- I was actually allowed to see key items in their private collection including a Times obituary notice dated 1882, a copy of a photo which purports to be of little Alice -and photocopies of the recently-unearthed diary itself. It was quite eerie and made me feel close to the family. In fact I dreamed about Alice no fewer than four times!

On 23rd June we invited a group to walk in the footsteps of the Mayhew family and together, we told the story of the mysterious happenings, the phantom birds, the urban legends and the rediscovery of the long lost diary.

For me this was an amazing opportunity to work with yet another incredible London story and I am very grateful to the good people at Portals of London for letting me share in some of their researches.

Another big Thank you to all who joined us on a warm, white, still and spooky evening in Stoke Newington.

This event is finished but if you’re interested in more explorations of London’s weird places and strange stories, click here.



(Please note: The representative from Portals of London has been asked not to be identified.)